Home is on the Horizon

I see Arizona in the distance. 

Literally, that is Arizona about 35 miles toward those mountains.

We left Carlsbad, NM shortly after 7 a.m.  but I decided to change the route going south, then west through El Paso and into New Mexico. I looked at a satillite image of the north, then west route and it appeared many mountains and possible steep grades might not be such a good route. So, we took Rt. 62 southward then west but was met by some unexpected and very steep inclines as we crossed the Guadalupe Mountains. In overdrive the car slows to a crawl at the steepest points. To help get us up those slopes, I sped up on the downgrades which did help carry me up the next grade. But as the grades steepness increased, I stopped, disengaged the overdrive and used the direct drive with the transmission. That worked well and more effectively tackled those steep grades. 

Coming down into El Paso, I had tried to avoid getting on I-10 and used a bypass road, that, to my dismay, I could see after some driving distance that it was going up what looked like a long, steep grade up the mountains. Having no other choice, I again shifted out of the overdrive and into the transmission. That did the trick as Phiona steadily attacked the incline, slowly increasing speed as she carried us up to the top and then down the other side. Confusion about the route and road numbers, unfortunately led us on to the the dreaded I-10 which was swarming with traffic, not to mention we were then headed east not west as we should have been going. Once we realized the mistake we did an about face and headed west, but I opted to just stay on the interstate, as the road was in good shape and it did, after all, take us West as intended. Further out of the city, the traffic spread out and it was much easier going. We then stayed on I-10 all the way to Lordsburg, NM where we exited onto US-70. Initially I planned to stop in Deming for the night, but it was hardly noon at that point so I went on to Lordsburg, whch was only another hour up the road. So, with plenty of daylight, I pressed on to the the next town, Duncan, AZ. Well, ok, now I had gained another hour coming into Arizona and it was just past 2 p.m. That meant I had plenty more daylight to burn as Duncan was hardly a town and what there was of it was decrepit. Needless to say, there were no motels. So, onward to Safford, AZ which had several motel choices. But, again, more dayight to burn, so why not press on? We rested and Phiona joined us as I contemplated if I should go all the way - back to Phoenix. 

Back in the car again, aiming for home, and the sun shining in my eyes, I started to rethink going the whole way. I had driven this road through the mountains in the dark in a modern vehicle and remembered all too well. The road. that night,  was thick with trucks from the copper mines in Globe and Miami and they literally raced those curves and grades. That was a frightful night drive and I had no desire to even attempt it with a 1934 Pontiac in the dark.

With the sun now rapidly setting behind the mountains, I opted for safety and we have stopped here in Globe for the night. Now we can take our time in the morning and complete this roadtrip in safety plus avoid the heat and any vapor locking. It will be about 100 miles to home which allows us time to kick back and then get Richard to the airport well in advance of his evening flight.

Phiona ran very well today. The overdrive has been a very wise and good investment.

We had one incident of vapor lock as we were leaving a fuel stop.  So, I pulled aside, lifted the hoods and we got some sandwiches from the shop and sat on the running board in the shade allowing Phiona to cool off enough for us to continue. In little less than an hour I figured she was ready to go and with the help of some starting fluid she fired up and we hit the road. The rest of the trip went without problems.

I have many thoughts about this latest road trip adventure. In a future posting I will share them with readers.

Run Indian, RUN.  Chief Pontiac is right behind you...